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Training and support in hypnotherapy and psychotherapy since 1999


Finding a training school

Finding the course that's best for you and how to discover the ones to avoid.


If you have a specific question, please contact me directly at:


Training F.A.Qs.
Here are answers to some of the most frequently-asked questions concerning training - they will help you make an informed decision as to what will suit you best. Study the information here; training can be quite expensive and it is a fact that quality of training varies widely. If you want to ensure the best training for YOU it might be worth travelling a few miles to find it. Studying what is written here will pay huge dividends.


      • An important Question
      • A school worth travelling to...
      • Regulation and 'new laws'
      • Teachers' Qualifications
      • The Industry Standard
      • Accrediting bodies
      • Teachers' Experience
      • Classroom-based learning
      • School Premises
      • Distance Learning and Online Study
      • 'Doctor' qualification
      • The Hypnotherapy Diploma
      • The weekend training course
      • Can anybody learn?
      • Franchised Training Schools
      • Post Graduate Support
      • Accredited Schools
      • Hypnosis FAQs


An Important Question
The question is this: Do you want to become a hypnotherapist, or do you simply want to find out more about hypnosis?


If you simply want to find out more, there is absolutely no need to pay out for a training course! There are some excellent books which will teach you all that you need to know, including how to hypnotise people and what to do with them when they are hypnotised.


A school worth travelling to...
Just as many Universities and schools have better reputations and results than others, so do hypnotherapy training organisations. It is a mistake to imagine that hypnotherapy training is hypnotherapy training wherever you study, just as it would be a mistake to consider that one pair of shoes is just like any other pair, or that one doctor is just as effective as any other.


There are franchised training schools with a good promotional image but which may fall short on the accepted minimum number of hours needed (450 in total, of which at least 120 must be attendance based) for accredited training. The 'tutors' in these schools might well have just finished their own training and have no clinical experience - this is often reflected in the price of the course being lower than most. Unfortunately, the level of training all too often follows the same pattern.


If you are seeking a new career, or even just to be a first-class part-time therapist, you owe it to yourself to get the best training you can find - and that might mean travelling outside your own area. At the Essex Institute we have students from all over the UK - and, indeed, from abroad. This is not an unusual situation for the better schools and it is a good idea to conduct your research thoroughly, find the one that you like best, and be prepared to travel! In any case, most classes are held on one weekend a month, making it feasible to attend the best school you can find, even if it means covering a few miles. The end results will probably be worth it.


Regulation and 'New Laws'
There is to be no compulsory regulation for hypnotherapists, nor are there to be any new laws introduced, though there is now a regulatory body to which resposible therapists belong. Many individuals at the forefront of the profession, the owner of this site included, have been involved in the development of these standards and from early 2011, only hypnotherapists who have received the prescribed minimum standards of training will be eligible for registration with the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council, an 'official' registering body for several different disciplines in the field of complementary health. A course of an acceptable standard must be of 450 hours in total, 120 at least of which must be attendance-based


Teachers Qualifications
There are currently huge numbers of hypnotherapy training courses available from an ever-growing number of providers. Unfortunately, not all of the hypnotherapy schools provide adequate training and some of the tutors have never actually been in clinical practice themselves. A few seek to go straight from their own classes to training you. This is possible because there is no 'official' recognised hypnotherapy association or training body nor are there any recognised teacher qualifications. In addition to this, all hypnotherapy schools, colleges, institutes, etc. are privately owned, however grand or important their title sounds. They are all private enterprises, trading for profit. There is nothing wrong with that, of course (indeed, my own hypnosis school comes into this category and would not be able to trade if it did not make a profit) but there are those who try to look 'official', often by running their classes in rooms that they hire from a University or Hospital. The fact is, though, that they simply pay money to hire the room from the University or Hospital - and almost anybody can do that.


The Industry Standard
While Hypnotherapy is currently unregulated, there are still accepted 'industry standards' to which the better schools seek to adhere. The most important of these concerns the number of contact hours between teacher and student, and the student/instructor ratio.


Contact hours

It is widely considered (by the leading hypnotherapy professional associations) that a course should comprise of at least 120 hours contact and supervised practice. Many schools who claim to be 'proper' actually give far less than this, typically teaching one day per month for ten months; this gives you around 60 hours instruction for both practice AND theory. This is simply not long enough to learn everything that you need to be competent, safe, and effective. The major accrediting bodies will not consider this sufficient to make you eligible for membership, though the school concerned may be accredited by an association which belongs to the owner of the school. The exception is where an individual has trained in a one-on-one situation with a professional tutor - though even here, you will not have the same level of practical experience.


Student/instructor ratio

This should be at least in the order of 9 students to 1 tutor, and there should always be a minimum of 2 tutors; some of the better schools manage a ratio of 6 or even 5 students per tutor. If you discover that the school you are considering has only one tutor and no assistant THIS IS A STRONG INDICATOR THAT THE TUTOR MAY BE INEXPERIENCED.


Accrediting Bodies
Almost all schools now show that their courses are accredited by one or more accrediting bodies. Unfortunately, this is no guarantee whatsoever that the course is a good one; because there is no regulation of hypnotherapy at present, it is an easy matter for anybody to set up their own accrediting body - in fact they are all, every one of them, private enterprises and do not confer any guarantee of quality.


The best of these organisations are honest and will provide you with professional support in the form of annual conferences, seminars, a journal, maybe a free email address and listing on their register of therapists. They might also figure prominently in the search engines, which help clients to find you via the internet. Others might have as few as 10 members, even though they have a grand-sounding name, and/or have no annual conference or seminars available to help you gain the necessary Continual Professional Development.


It is a good idea to investigate the websites of the bodies that accredit any course that you are thinking of taking - it will help you to decide whether or not they are a respected association.


Here are a few of them. Being listed here does not suggest that they are the best or the only ones you should contemplate joining - remember each of them is a private organisation and is not any more 'official' than any of the others.


The Association for Professional Hypnosis and Psychotherapy (APHP)
The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH)
The National Council of Psychotherapists (NCP)
The National Register of Advanced Hypnotherapists (NRAH)
The World Federation of Hypnotherapists (WFH)
The General Hypnotherapy Register (GHR)
The General Hypnotherapy Standards Council (GHSC)
The Hypnotherapy Society (HS)
The Hypnotherapy Association (HA)
The National Guild of Hypnotists (NGH) - in the USA


Teachers Experience
You should be able to find out something about the principal/director of a hypnotherapy school and any of their teachers - and there should be more than one! It is advisable to check out his/her credentials, clinical hypnosis experience, etc. This information should be readily available. Remember, it is important to be taught by somebody who knows how to do the actual work.


Always check the experience that your tutor actually has - find out how long he or she has been qualified. If it is less than two years, you are not in good hands! Unfortunately, it is sometimes the case a 'tutor' has only completed his/her own basic training just a few months before trying to teach you. In fact, some less-than-professional schools actively encourage their 'graduates' to go out and teach others, as a commission-based activity, rather like a franchise or MLM operation.


Classroom Based Learning
A classroom-based course needs to be of at least 120 contact hours to be viable. This is usually spread over 10-12 months and there should be practical assignments to complete between classes. A good course will consist of around 450-600 hours in total.


A good college or school should be accredited by a professional association in the country of origin. If not, you may not gain registration with the professional associations in your own country. Again, not essential, but definitely desirable. Such accreditation should be clearly visible in the school prospectus - and do check out the accreditation to see it it looks 'worth it's salt'. Some are not, but as a rule, the website will tell you all you need to know. There should be a visible code of ethics, details of how to become a member, details of individuals on the adminstrative board, along with other professional information. 


School Premises
As mentioned earlier, most schools of hypnotherapy do not actually have a 'fixed base' - that is, they do not have any premises from which they run their classes. Instead, they use any room they can hire or rent - often university rooms, or a hospital suite somewhere. This is not a bad thing, of course, but quite often they seek to give the impression that you are studying a university-based or hospital-based course when, in reality there is no such thing.


In itself, this does not pose a problem as far as the standard of teaching is concerned - but it sometimes does cause difficulty as far as getting instant support when you need it. If you can study with a school who own their own premises - and all of those who are listed at the end of this document do have - you are assured of being able to speak to a member of staff whenever you need to. In other situations, you can find yourself leaving messages all over the place to which you receive no response... This can be important if you have a concern over work that you are doing with a volunteer as a case study, for instance, or even just to clear up a point in the course about which you are a little haz.


Distance Learning and Online Study
If you need to study via a distance learning course, for whatever reason, then do make sure it is with a reputable hypnotherapy school, ideally one which also offers classroom tuition. There is virtually no difference between an Online Course and one in which you are posted physical copies of the course material - except price (online is usually cheaper). Some people believe that they are somehow in closer contact with the teacher if the physical materials are posted to them... even though the posting may well be carried out by a secretary.


The organisation should offer post-graduate support and advice when you need it - and it is a good idea to check on the fee structure for this support because in some schools it is enormously expensive and is charged by the hour or part hour. A good school in interested in the welfare of the students and will keep charges to a minimum. Some schools do not actually make any charge at all. The ONLINE course available from this site fulfils all these criteria, as you might expect - to find out more, look at: Professional Training


There is one problem with this type of study: The major professional associations (in the UK) do not recognise distance learning courses at all - you will not be able to be registered with them until you can show that you've been in professional practice for two years or so. In the UK, you will still be able to legally practice though; in some other parts of the world this is not the case. In some states of the U.S.A. it is necessary to work in conjunction with conventional medical practitioners.


'Doctor' qualification
Currently, there are no recognised English BSc., MA or Phd. qualifications available in the field of hypnosis or hypnotherapy (although there are a few medical doctors who practice hypnotherapy). If you see the title 'Dr.' used solely in connection with hypnotherapy or hypnosis, it is from a foreign University or is purely a research degree which is not associated with clinical practice as such. There are a few individuals who style themselves this way, often as 'Ph.D.' and will sometimes indicate 'psy.'. Sometimes this is a genuine Doctorate in psychology; though even then, it might be from a private university with minimal study requirements. In these cases, there has been no preliminary BSc. or MA. achieved first and so the PhD is not really genuine.


The Hypnotherapy Diploma
Without exception, all hypnotherapy schools print their own diplomas. But since some 'diploma' courses are just a weekend seminar and others can be studied via a CD rom, it follows that such an award doesn't say much on its own. The three main designations are: DHP., Dip. Hyp., and D. Hyp. 'DHP', these days, usually means: 'Diploma in Hypnotherapy with Psychotherapy,' although, since all modern training courses combine basic psychotherapy in their training (and it IS needed to be successful in practice) these designations don't really tell you much. In fact, if you were to start a hypnotherapy school today (even without knowing what you were doing) you would be legally entitled to issue such diplomas.


This is exactly why it is so important for you to be sure that you find a properly accredited school!


The Weekend Training Course
Distrust the weekend or 3 day 'complete diploma course'. No matter how intense, you will be left knowing enough to cause problems but not enough to sort them out. And ask yourself this question: If you were going to submit yourself to a hypnotherapist for treatment, would you be happy if you discovered that his/her training had lasted for a maximum of three days? In other words, somebody could have the most menial job you can imagine on the Friday, yet set up in practice as a professional hypnotherapist on the following Monday!


There is another problem here, too: it is extremely unlikely that you would able to obtain professional indemnity insurance with such a 'qualification'.


Can anybody learn?
Well, anybody with average intelligence can, given the right school and the right teacher. Just as in many other subjects though, there is no one school that is right for everybody. It is always a good idea, if you're doubtful, to talk to somebody by telephone before committing yourself. In general, the better schools will have somebody available to talk to you immediately, or at least on the same day, and their manner will reflect the style of the school. It can tell you a lot!


The Franchised Training School
BE ESPECIALLY CAREFUL OF THIS ONE: It is becoming quite common for owners of schools to get therapists to run their courses in different parts of the Country. All well and good, except for the fact that it often looks to the student as if you are studying with a branch of the 'parent' school. The fact is, though, that these satellite schools frequently do not belong to and are not under the guidance/jurisdiction of the 'parent' school. It is a business transaction, pure and simple, like a franchise operation.


In itself, this is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as the teacher of the school you attend has plenty of clinical experience and knowledge - many prefer to start up with an established name and a reputable school will only allow experienced individuals to run their course. Try to speak directly to him or her, if possible. Most teachers are busy people but the good ones will definitely find time to talk to you and/or respond to your emails. When contacting a school by telephone, it is quite usual, especially in the bigger ones, that you will find yourself speaking to an administrator. Again, this person should be knowledgeable enough to answer all your questions confidently and will tell you the best way to make direct contact with the school's principal/director. Do check on the amount of clinical experience that a tutor is claiming - this is quite easy to do by entering their name in a 'Google' search


Post Graduate Support
There should be clear evidence of post-graduate support, even with a distance learning course. In some schools this is free, in others it can be expensive. Some do not offer it at all, which means that you have no 'back-up' should you need it. It is rare that you will need such support, but it can and does happen. If you cannot see details of such support on whichever school you choose, be sure to find out exactly what is on offer and whether or not you have to pay for it.


Training should meet the National Occupational Standards for Hypotherapy and a training schoool should adhere to the Core Curriculum established in 2010. I was directly involved in the creation of both these important standards for the training of the modern Professional Hypnotherapist.


The Essex Institute of Clinical Hypnosis This school was established in 1999 by Terence Watts and is based in Southend on Sea, in Essex.

We have trained many thousand of people all around the world to help others to find and maintain a better life. You could be next!